John Bednall Centre for Excellence
The John Bednall Centre for Excellence is a unique entity at The Hutchins School and aims to promote increased access to and participation in all aspects of schooling for students with additional needs, both in terms of support and extension.
The Centre’s programs support students in developing their academic, social and communication skills as well as targeting individual needs. Students have the opportunity to participate in small group programs or they may be supported one on one as in the case of some students with Individual Education Programs. Students are supported in small group situations where they experience difficulties or would benefit from extension activities.
It is the vision of the John Bednall Centre for Excellence that all students identified as requiring learning support are provided with an engaging, challenging and rewarding education that enables them to develop their full potential through a thinking curriculum, targeted pedagogy and educational pathways in order to become responsible and active global citizens.
Gifted and Learning Support programs
Learning Support programs in literacy and numeracy and gifted education activities are structured to meet the developmental needs of students from Prep to Year 12.
Individual Education Programs
Individual Education Plan is a term that refers to both an ongoing process and documentation that informs and tracks the education of a student with disability. Individual Education Programs (IEPs) are developed for students who are on the Register of Students with Severe Disabilities or students who are unable to access the year level curriculum due to severe learning difficulties.
Learning Support and Gifted classes – Prep to Year 6
At the end of each year each Prep to Year 6 student is tested in the areas of spelling, literacy and numeracy on standardised assessments. Any student performing below the 30th percentile is offered remedial class inclusion (subject to resources). Any student performing above the 95th percentile is offered a place in the gifted program extension classes, provided that an AGAT or RAVENS assessment confirms this performance level. Year 5 and 6 boys also participate annually in the da Vinci Decathlon program. The Academic Gala day provides the boy with a rigorous day centered around teams from around the state competing in ten different disciplines.
Learning Support and Gifted classes – Middle and Senior School
At the end of each year, Years 6 and 7 students are tested in the areas of spelling, literacy and numeracy, on standardised assessments. Any student performing below the 30th percentile is offered a literacy support option or an alternative pathway for mathematics (subject to resources). Years 9 students are tested in the areas of spelling and reading comprehension on standardised assessments (PAR Reading and PAT Spelling.) Students performing below the 30th percentile are highlighted and skill sessions are included in their class programs.
Any student performing above the 95th percentile is offered a place in the Years 7 or 8 gifted program and/or extension classes (subject to further individual testing and resourcing). High performing Year 9 to 12 students are directed to advanced level subjects, the High Achievers Program and/or may be accelerated through grades.
Fogarty of RFA Robin Fogarty Company believes that to make a difference in student achievement we must address the rigour of the thinking skills that thread the curriculum’s robust standards. Teaching students explicitly how, to think, to analyze critically, to hypothesize with confidence, to clarify with purpose and to make inferences that matter, is the mark of university and career-readiness. Students require access to a powerful and mindful, literacy-filled curriculum across all disciplines. Students develop proficiency in explicit thinking skills, with rigor front and center in teaching critical, creative, complex, comprehensive, collaborative and communicative thinking.
All students at Hutchins are assessed via the standardised ACER Progressive Achievement Tests each year. Through this screening process, students who perform above the 90th percentile, or who consistently excel in a variety of areas within the classroom can be identified for diagnostic assessments. All information is then assembled from a variety of sources and instruments including Raven’s Matrices, AGAT, Slosson, WISC V, Off Level Testing and parent and teacher checklists. Having been identified, students are directed into the most appropriate extension programs, subject choices or perhaps accelerated classes.
Early Learning Centre and Junior School programs
Gifted education at Hutchins aims to develop creative and critical thinkers who, from a young age, are able to produce original responses to complex problems and challenges. At the core of the gifted and talented program in these foundation years is a belief as described by Csikszentmihalyi & Wolfe, (2000, 91) that the “future will require individuals who are able to formulate new problems, come up with new solutions, and adapt readily to the new ideas of others”. Our program is driven by high level concepts and problem based learning opportunities that both cover and go well beyond classroom and curriculum expectations.
Middle School program
In Years 7 and 8 at Hutchins, the Gifted program continues to focus on the key thinking skills that occur most frequently in the Australian Curriculum. Program activities are designed around a range of disciplines sourced from da Vinci’s own study and career, namely; art and poetry, ideation, philosophy, engineering, creative producing, English, Mathematics, Science, general knowledge, games of strategy and code breaking.
Middle School students participate annually in da Vinci Challenge competitions which place particular emphasis on higher order thinking skills, problem solving and creativity. Working in collaborative teams, students are highly stimulated by challenging tasks encompassing engineering, Mathematics, code breaking, games of strategy, art and poetry, Science, English and forensic sleuthing.
Gifted and Talented in Middle School
Boys in Year 7 are identified and invited to attend flexible sessions in lunch or pastoral times. Areas of focus might include the Space Design Challenge, da Vinci Decathlon, maths challenges and various critical and creative thinking skill exercises.
Year 8 Academic Enrichment runs through first semester as an elective and is by invitation only. Choices include problem based learning units of work, First Code Academy Curriculum (creating mobile phone apps), Australian Maths Trust competition, Philosothon, da Vinci and independent research projects focusing on the process of inquiry and critical thinking skills.
Senior School programs
The Senior School offers Gifted students a broad selection of high level Tasmanian Qualification Authority subjects throughout Years 10, 11 and 12. Students may also choose to participate in high level competitions and events such as debating, English writing, philosophy, science, titration, Chinese speaking, French speaking, Drama, Music and Mathematics.
High performing students may also qualify for inclusion in the High Achievers Program (HAP), offered in conjunction with the University of Tasmania (UTAS). The HAP offers additional benefits including: subsidised course costs, credit towards a UTAS Degree, counting units towards the ATAR and access to facilities and support services. Units offered may include; Chinese, Philosophy, History, Latin, Journalism, Media, Politics and Music.
Identified Senior School students are invited to participate in philosothons. Students investigate ethical and philosophical questions in the context of “communities of inquiry” to develop higher order thinking and communication skills through a series of discussions with students from other schools. A philosothon promotes a sense of community among thinkers. The philosothon promotes a deeper understanding of values and purpose, in a spirit of co-operation, while further developing skills in inquiry-based learning, ethical reasoning, higher order reflective thinking, and a search for meaning through dialogue around open questions and contestable concepts.
Acceleration involves speeding a student’s progress through school via curriculum acceleration within a year level, curriculum compacting, subject area acceleration or grade skipping. Students considered for accelerated progression should have comprehensive assessments of academic skill levels as well as intellectual and social-emotional functioning. Academically, the child should demonstrate skill levels above the average of the class he desires to enter. The student’s ability to adjust their physical health and size, their eagerness to advance, social and emotional maturity and the timing of advancement must be considered. The receiving teacher must have a positive attitude towards the acceleration and must be willing to help the child adjust.